District development plans for five areas in the City of Antwerp

Climate change increasingly is causing long periods of heat and drought, while at other times it produces flooding. The effects, particularly in densely populated Flemish cities such as Antwerp, are huge. This requires a transition to sustainable residential districts that are able to withstand – and help buffer – the environmental problems of the 21st century.

At the request of the City of Antwerp, Witteveen+Bos will be preparing new district development plans for five zones within the city. We will to a large extent rely on our experience with innovative Nature-based Solutions used to solve problems relating to liveability and climate change and provide room for biodiversity.

A climate-robust living environment with room for (bio)diversity

On the basis of these district development plans, we are working with our eco-hydrology team on a climate-robust Antwerp with a strategic blue-green network. Eliminating flooding and combatting drought are key themes. In addition, we are devoting maximum effort to elevating liveability by designing green landscaping for public use at strategic locations, reducing heat stress and creating ecological value.

Through a network of green ‘spots and axes’ we connect nature, increase local biodiversity value and sequester greenhouse gases. This not only benefits the urban experiential value, it also increases climate awareness among residents.

A strategic, phased approach

We are doing the work in four phases. On the basis of a thorough analysis of the current and historical situation we identify and localise potential opportunities and issues relating to liveability and water, biodiversity and climate management. Next, we design specific implementation-oriented scenarios to simulate and quantify potential gains on these different fronts. On the basis of what the simulations teach us, we subsequently will develop specific action plans and vision maps. In the last phase we convert these maps and plans into an overarching action and communication strategy that the City of Antwerp can use to get started.